Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego (5/3/2012) - Every step
recruits take during recruit training brings them closer to earning
the title of United States Marine, but one of the first steps they
take is upon the infamous yellow footprints at Receiving Company
aboard Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego.
Staff Sgt Justin L. Hansen, chief drill instructor, Receiving Company, Recruit Training Regiment, prepares the read aloud articles from the Uniform Code of Military Justice during receiving April 23, 2012 aboard Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego. The UCMJ is the foundation of military law in the United States. The articles read to the recruits
pertain to recruit training and their time aboard the depot. Photo by USMC Lance Cpl. Bridget Keane
“This is just a stepping stone into
recruit training,” said Sgt. Cory Marcus, senior drill
instructor, Receiving Co., Recruit Training Regiment. “This
is where they're transformed from civilian to recruit.”
The purpose of the receiving process is to collect the
recruit's paper work and make sure they're ready for
training. It also gives them an idea of how the rest of
their time aboard the depot will be, said Sgt. Luis Alicea,
drill instructor, Receiving Company, RTR.
them how to stand, walk and talk properly here so their
drill instructors can focus on their training,” said Alicea.
This metamorphosis begins when young men who arrive
from states west of the Mississippi River are loaded onto
buses at San Diego International Airport and are transported
to the depot.
As a drill instructor yells at them to
put their heads down and to not speak, the darkness and the
roar of the bus engine fills a void that was once silence.
Who knows what imaginations are stirring in every recruit as
they wonder what is in store for them.
Fear of the
unknown is an emotion that many can relate to. The recruits
only know of what they've heard, either from their
recruiter, the media, or other Marines in their lives.
“I didn't know what to expect when I stepped on those
footprints, it finally hit me that this was real,” said
Recruit Anthony Brownlee, Receiving Company, RTR. “I'm
nervous, but I joined to better myself and my career.”
Drill instructors eagerly wait as the bus pulls up to
the curb outside of Receiving Company. This is only the
beginning of a night that will seem endless to the new
“Sit up straight!” screams a drill
instructor after he boarded the bus. “From this point
forward you will only answer me with a ‘yes sir', ‘no sir'
and ‘aye-aye sir', do we understand?”
the recruits reply in unison.
The recruits have
their first taste of what is to be expected from their drill
instructors at the depot. From the bus, they rush out on to
the yellow footprints where they are instructed on how to
properly stand at the position of attention.
component of receiving is significant to the processing of
recruits. When the recruits move from one part to the next,
the recruits are given short speeches and lessons on how
they will act while they're aboard the depot, explained
With their fists clenched and thumbs along
their trouser seams, the recruits stand at the position of
attention. They are then instructed to move to a next set of
yellow footprints that face an illuminated sign.
sign states articles from the Uniform Code of Military
Justice, which are laws that all military members must
follow. Certain articles, such as unauthorized absence and
others that pertain to recruits while they are in recruit
training, are read to them aloud. From there, they are
rushed into the contraband room.
“In the contraband
room, they are instructed to empty their pockets and go
through their belongings to get rid of the items they won't
need while in recruit training,” said Alicea. “They also
receive their first issue of gear, a war bag containing
basic items they'll need throughout training.”
recruits then move to a wall of phones where they are told
to make their only phone call home for three months. They
read a script that states they've made it to recruit
Others yelling louder than the
next, recruits scream, “I love you and goodbye,” in hopes
that their loved one will hear them before hanging up the
phone and moving on to the next step of the receiving
process - haircuts.
The buzz of hair clippers drown
out the yelling of drill instructors outside of the barber's
room. The recruits take a seat and close their eyes. As
their hair falls to the floor, their civilian identity falls
“Every recruit's head is shaved bald,” said
Alicea. “This is to establish uniformity and also to instill
the fact that they are no longer individuals.”
freshly shaved heads, recruits are rushed to receive their
clothing issue. By this time, the recruits seem to have
grown accustomed to the fast pace that has been forced on
them throughout the night.
“It could be culture shock
for most recruits,” said Alicea. “We keep it at a fast pace
and give them that sense of urgency that they'll need
As the night slowly turns into
day, the recruits go through the “Moment of Truth”, which is
when they can come clean or bring to light about anything
that can cause them to not continue with their training.
The rest of the week is spent preparing the recruits for
“pick up,” which is when they are sent to their platoons.
This is the highly anticipated moment when they finally meet
the drill instructors who will spend the next three months
training, molding and eventually making them Marines. The
recruits expected to pick up with Company G and are
scheduled to begin training May 1.
More photos available below
By USMC Lance Cpl. Bridget Keane
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